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Title: Drinking experiences of first year female students : using narratives to explore the transition to university life
Author: Barrass, Cheryl Jean
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 9293
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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Regular heavy drinking amongst university students continues to be a current mental health concern (The Royal College of Psychiatrist, 2011). There has been a rise in the number of female undergraduate students consuming dangerous levels of alcohol on a regular basis (Gill, Donaghy, Guise and Warner, 2007). Qualitative research that investigates the drinking behaviour of female undergraduates is limited, especially research that explores the individual's understanding of their harmful drinking. This research discovers how female undergraduates understand and experience their alcohol use within the context of their university life. Three female first year undergraduates who were drinking to harmful levels were recruited and selected via an online drinking behaviour questionnaire. A Free Association Narrative Approach was used (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000) to elicit biographical narratives from participants during face-to-face interviews. Common themes were identified using Free Association Narrative Analysis of the interview transcripts. Female undergraduates were found to understand their drinking behaviours by relating to their previous personal and family experiences and associating their drinking with the challenges of university life. All participants made reference to the positive benefits of social drinking and considered that their drinking was the 'norm' across the student population. Feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment became apparent in participants' stories where they had recollected engaging in behaviours whilst drunk that they later regretted. All participants used strategies such as minimisation and denial to cope with the negative consequences of their alcohol use. Participants did not regard their drinking as being harmful as they anticipated that their drinking levels would reduce after leaving university due to changing lifestyles. Findings highlight the need for intervention packages to have resonance with female students who are exposing themselves to health and social risks through harmful drinking.
Supervisor: Martin, Carol ; Bewick, Bridgette Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available